Centre High School’s Cole Srajer and Max Svoboda, winners of the Marion County Youth Entrepreneurial Challenge in March, were awarded $2,000 for their business pitch at the state contest in Manhattan April 27.
The state contest drew entries from 44 high schools and 11 collegiate teams from across the state and awarded entrepreneurial-minded students a total of $75,000 in prize money.
The fifth annual event was organized by the Kansas State University Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship and was sponsored by the Kansas Masonic Foundation.
Srajer and Svoboda’s enterprise is Cole’s Cards, an online sports trading cards business.
The state contest was similar to the Marion County competition. In the opening round, teams delivered a four-minute quick pitch of their business to a panel of judges that consisted of entrepreneurs, bankers and investment experts.
From those pitches, the judges selected four high school finalists and four collegiate finalists, who each then had the opportunity to give another pitch, followed by a question-and-answer session with the judges.
In the high school division, Nicholas Flores from Wichita East High School, was awarded the $5,000 grand prize. His business, Kestral Aerial, uses drone technology to take aerial photos and videos for real estate and other commercial uses.
In second place was Bridget Stanton from Gloria Deo Academy, Manhattan, who took home $4,000 for her pitch of Bridge Digital Marketing, which helps small business owners with targeted digital and social media marketing plans.
Sarah Clausen, Caitlin Low and Wyntr Jacobs from Southeast High School, Cherokee, won $3,000 for their third-place pitch of Live Oriental, a meal-prep delivery kit featuring Asian-fusion ingredients.
Srajer and Svoboda’s business was the fourth finalist in the high school division.